Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Where does the time go?

I actually have negative time to be posting this week. I haven't been slacking, I've been busy having fun and, well, being busy. Brian came for a lovely extended weekend, and we were also graced with the presence of our long lost friends, the fabulous ATF and Lizzie. They joined us all the way from northern Michigan, a far-off land where all they eat is almond-crusted whitefish and cherries. We took them for big city food like dim sum and, um, italian...and we hit museums and bars and the hookah.

It was awesome. And I completely neglected my work, which is how it should have been. But now I have four papers due and I should have been in bed an hour ago. Yar!

On another note, for so many many reasons, I can't believe it's almost May.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I understand a love of shoes, but come ON.

We have lots of magazines in my apartment. Only one is technically mine--RealSimple--and that was a gift, but between the roommates we subscribe to TimeOut, The New Yorker, Blender, Harper's, and Cook's Illustrated. It's a lot of freaking breakfast-time reading material, to say nothing of the tremendous weight our coffee table bears.

So it was kind of out of the ordinary the other day, while I was standing in a mind-boggingly endless line at the drugstore just wanting to buy a snack for the train ride home, that I began eyeing a Marie Claire on the rack by the register. This is the reason they put those magazines there, because people buy them impulsively at the last second, and I knew that. I knew it. But I was facing an hour long train ride home, I was exhausted and not in the mood for my novel, and I'd never really read that particular magazine. And besides, the real reason I finally decided to buy it was because the largest, most prominent headline on the front had to do with hairstyles and related ideas, and to be honest I need a haircut so desperately right now that I think about my rat's nest a lot. So I bought it, as a guilty pleasure, and I really wish I hadn't.

Ugh. These are the kinds of magazines that sociologists and psychologists talk about. It's not Cosmo, because everyone, even subscribers, knows that Cosmo is ridiculous in a more overt way, what with hot pink covers and their same "HOT sex!!" headline every single damn month. It's much more difficult to take all of that seriously, even though I'm sure people do. But something like Marie Claire, which masks itself as a more understated, straightforward fashion and human interest glossy, is what I believe is doing more damage.

The first thing I noticed that pissed me off--though perhaps trivial--was the aforementioned hair feature. The biggest part about that was this huge pull-out of different celebrities' hairstyles, meant to give everyone the perfect for their face shape. Clearly this was not going to be the final authority on hair, but in this large spread of 80 pictures (literally), there were perhaps two with curly hair. This kind of stuff has pissed me off since I was twelve, but I was just sad to see it continue.

But that's not even the worst part. The "big features" that this magazine boasts? An investigative report into the "unbelievable duties" of Japan's sex volunteers, men who volunteer to deflower women who are nearing or past 30 and are still virgins. Thank goodness these men are around to, as the article says, help embarrassed "good girls learn about lovemaking"! Next up in the Features section: "Could you give up your razor for a month?" Gasp!! And my personal favorite: "I surfed naked for a pair of Manolos." Aside from an interesting article about human trafficking, that was pretty much it. Now, I know no one expects freaking Marie Claire to be changing the world, but can we ever begin to revise our idea of who exactly reads these magazines? Am I overreacting? It's true, most people pick these up so they have a fluffy read, and that's why I bought it too. But the readers do have brains, and sometimes I feel that things like this are actively trying to turn those brains into molasses. That's all.